The Productive Backyard 2013 January to June

A place to share garden and outdoor spaces plans and activities.
BookSaver
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The Productive Backyard 2013 January to June

Postby BookSaver » Tue Jan 01, 2013 11:34 am

copying Harriet's intro from last year:

The Productive Backyard

Here’s a space to discuss the chores and pleasant efforts that bring something from the land into your kitchen and home.

Vegetable garden harvests,
Egg gathering,
4-H projects,
Canning/freezing/putting up,
Orchard fruits,
Composting and
Livestock appreciation!

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Nancy
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Re: The Productive Backyard 2013 January to June

Postby Nancy » Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:20 pm

Thanks for putting this thread up BookSaver!
I'll be back to post more of my goals as I think of them.

#1 This week / mo. get roost up in chicken coop.
#2 ASAP get hinge & latch on chicken door.
#3 finish winterizing coop / run
#4 plan garden
#5 Decide and order or acquire replacement stock.

Spring
Put hardware cloth over holes for venting in top of coop.

Summer
paint inside coop I have the paint
get paint for outside of coop

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Re: The Productive Backyard 2013 January to June

Postby BookSaver » Wed Feb 20, 2013 11:50 am

Hmm, looks like everyone has been including outdoors talk in other threads, eh? I decided to post here because I want to recommend some excellent programs by the BBC about farming history in England.

Victorian Farm
Edwardian Farm
Wartime Farm (1940s)
and I just found the prequel to all of them, Tales from the Green Valley

We don't get any BBC channels so I'm watching them all on youtube and other online sources.

The historians involved are doing living history re-enactments -- wearing period clothes (the real stuff, not stage costumes) and using only tools and resources available during the particular time period. They spend a full year at each farm so they can experience what the work was like each season. They show both the outdoor stuff with crops and animals, and indoor tasks of taking care of the house and outbuildings.

I really wish I could take home ec classes from Ruth Goodman. She's so cheerful and enthusiastic about everything. She really gets excited about cooking and preparing for Christmas and other celebrations. There are some gross scenes like butchering animals, but she makes them seem not so bad as she talks about how to make sure the animal has a good life and then is honored by using every part of it for food, making soap, etc.

I haven't watched all the episodes yet but have seen the first 3 of the Edwardian Farm ones. What really struck me in these is the beautiful colors, both in the countryside and in the clothes everyone wears. In the Victorian one, most people are wearing dark colors which are of course very practical for farm work. In the Edwardian programs, they're in Devon where the scenery is bright greens, the light is yellows and oranges, and the people wear striking blue, bright white, royal purple. Maybe the difference is that when they were filming at the Victorian farm, the weather was a lot of rain, whereas the Edwardian farm had more sunshine.

I've started noticing, too, they like to show an English robin, which is somewhat brighter colors than our American robin.

Edwardian Farm episode 2 has one of the men setting up what he calls his "chicken concern" -- getting the coop and food ready, deciding which breeds of chickens to raise for market.

The British dialects are fun to hear. Can't remember which show it was, one of the men referred to the apple cider he was drinking as "moorish." Took me a moment to realize that he wasn't saying it tasted dark as a moor, he meant that it tasted so good that he wanted some more -- "more-ish"! I've heard that expression in a British comedy on PBS.

Obviously, these are dangerous shows -- they are so good, they make me want to stop doing everything else and watch them all one right after another, and then start over again at the beginning and watch them all again. Such a relief from today's "reality" tv.

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Re: The Productive Backyard 2013 January to June

Postby Harriet » Wed Feb 20, 2013 12:37 pm

Oh, thank you for our dangerous show recommendations, BookSaver! I will check into those. Would not have known about the prequel had you not mentioned it.

It's Outdoor week in the Focus forum, too, and I've had my mind on what I could do out there - the weather has not been cooperating.

You're right that I, at least, have been mentioning outdoor things in PWYC rather than bringing them here. News from our coop is loss of our hen, Dottie, the Barred Plymouth Rock. This was the breed that helia, Nancy and I shared, each of us having at least one, so I hated to lose mine. She was of an opposite temperament from the hen she came here with, wanting to stay in the coop or close to it all the time, and so HRH suspects she was older than the craigslist ad said - who knows. Her "sister" has been a very powerful hen ever since arriving, and may have become the dominant lady in the henhouse now.

The rest of the hens are laying well and seem happy.

I know Nancy has happy coop news.

HRH is talking about getting tomato plants this year. I'm all for it except that he hasn't put thought into where he'd like to plant them. He wants me to be the one who chooses the variety, and I certainly agree with that. They "need" marigolds under them, too! :D

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Re: The Productive Backyard 2013 January to June

Postby Nancy » Thu Feb 21, 2013 12:01 pm

Good news / Bad news

Bad news first one day last week found one dead hen on the ground stiff. She was named Brownie dgd still talks about her a week later. Figured that Brownie must have been older than we thought when we bought her. On the bright side one less to cull as this one was not laying.

Now for the good news. Last week after I forgot and left the light on all night found a green egg with thin shell wondered what was up with that until it dawn on me that the other hen that is and Easter Egger [EE] that lays green eggs might have started laying again. So I kept a close eye on her since then especially yesterday and she's been very interested in the coop nest box. Sure enough I saw the other [ee] Named butterscotch the brown one scamper out and we found a green egg, later another green egg in a diff. nest box Marshmellow the white hen was in that green egg was warm being freshly laid. The family is happy b/c she seems to be a favorite for them. Other hens were around waiting their turn for the favorite top nesting box.

On Tues. 2-19 The first chicks of the season arrived at the farm store in town. I called around and could not get the one breed we had decided on
with out doing a special order. So got all Rhode Island Reds I was going to wait but the grand kids will be here more this month because of extra granny duty so I got ten chicks. Have not done that before we had them when I was a kids but folks did most of that work with those.

I put up a :idea: light :idea: aka heat lamp, got out the feeder and waterer I had from the failed attempt at hatching them last fall. They are in a plastic tote in the basement for now and that seems to be working out great. The family all takes turns "checking on the chicks" and watching them. It's fun to watch them.

They will not be going outside yet maybe in a week or so as it's in the 30*s at night and we need to move the nesting boxes out and get the coop set up like a brooder. Another first for us. So far the chicks are less work than I thought they would be yea for that!

I need to get a top for this bin or as hubby said that is a great time to move them outside when they start getting out of the tote.

Hoping to put some of these we raise in the freezer. Will be culling the older hens in the fall.

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Re: The Productive Backyard 2013 January to June

Postby Nancy » Thu Feb 21, 2013 8:49 pm

More Good News! Having one awesome day here we found 22 eggs, one of the hens had a stash of twenty eggs in a nest in the coop loft. Dgson had not been checking the loft as per our instructions. I looked but they were not visible pretty well hidden. We checked them to see if they floated and they did not and used a couple and seem to be fine! This is one memorable day! [They were cold small pullet eggs.] Dgson is taking home 18 eggs today he had been wanting to fill one of those cartons that hold 18 so we was able to fulfill that dream! :mrgreen:

You can bet he will be checking up there every time he is here from now on! His friend from down the street was with him and held the basket filling it as dgson handed him the eggs!

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Re: The Productive Backyard 2013 January to June

Postby Harmony » Fri Feb 22, 2013 11:40 pm

I'm still getting veggies from the garden. Broccoli, a few green beans, there's lettuce coming along, and an occasional tomato. I saved some green pepper seeds and DH planted them in the seed planter which we're anxiously watching for signs of growth. I'm keeping the compost bin outside fed, dh is finally getting into the routine of not throwing his "leavings" away.

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Re: The Productive Backyard 2013 January to June

Postby Nancy » Mon Mar 18, 2013 3:07 pm

One hen is broody and hoping for a hatch this week counting down to the 20-21st to when we might have chicks hatch. :mrgreen:

The ones we bought are thriving and out in the coop from the basement under a light still as it cooled off this week. One day was warm enough to turn the light off during the day.

Hens are happily digging in the dirt for worms the past mo. I've been moving bulbs around and they like it when we dig in the dirt for what ever reason.

Chicken run needs cleaned out again Mon. seems to be the day for that around here.

I could pull some onions.
Last edited by Nancy on Mon Mar 18, 2013 3:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Harriet
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Re: The Productive Backyard 2013 January to June

Postby Harriet » Mon Mar 18, 2013 3:20 pm

Nancy, you must be a good chick-mother! Nice to hear the chicks had such a good start.

Harmony, I can't believe you have had such a productive garden. You sure do take advantage of your climate well.

Probably another month here until we consider buying tomato plants. I used to say the last day of April was a safe setting-out time. When I was starting my own from seed, I'd have cartons full of little plants by now! I might check Park and Burpee and see what they are offering this year. These are usually the varieties we find locally.

Gratitude on my part to dstepson, who not only brought me 2 bales of straw, but cleaned out the henhouse for me and spread one bale. So fresh smelling. I think the hens are doing well. Very red combs right now, all laying.

We also had the experience of losing a hen just out of the blue. This is one of the sad things that happens in a flock. It seems there are mysteries to why we sometimes lose a hen. I immediately take care of it myself when this happens, because dd is probably not going to handle it well (although I keep it no secret from her how I'm disposing of it) and HRH is so tenderhearted toward them and takes it personally. Once we lost a hen shortly after he'd tossed them some kind of fruit with pits - don't remember what - and he was just convinced he'd killed her, which was surely not the reason at all.

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Re: The Productive Backyard 2013 January to June

Postby ellyphant » Mon Mar 18, 2013 3:50 pm

I have my Park and Burpee seed catalogs! As a child, I used to go to the annual flower show at Park Seed with grandparents, who ran a greenhouse in their later years. We are a long way from planting time here. It's snowing now, but I did see the first sign of bulbs coming up a couple days ago.
How you do your work is a portrait of yourself.


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